By Crystal Chung @crystalkchung

CHILDREN as young as ten operate heavy machinery unaided, their faces, chest and arms smeared silver from aluminium dust

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Early start: A young boy toils in the dusty conditions without a mask or gloves

Photographer Zakir Hossain Chowdhury visited the aluminium pot factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to document the working conditions.

The images show children working in a dusty and cramped environment with precious little in the way of safety equipment such as masks or gloves.

A young worker caked in aluminium dust stands next some of the factory machinery

A 14-year-old, who has been working at the factory since the age of nine, said: “My father left us when I was only four years old, from that moment on my mother provided for our family by working as a domestic labourer.

"Now I am contributing to my family and with the money I am also helping my sister to go through education.”

A woman stacks the finished pots on top of each other in the aluminium factory

The workers are categorised into ‘learners’ or ‘helpers’ - with a helper earning just 5 dollars per week.

One 12-year-old helper said that his mother had forced him into working at the factory.

He added: "My family have no ability to bear my educational expenses.

A sinewy young worker carries circular sheets in the Dhaka factory

"My mother said to me that if I work here, after gaining some experience I will be moved to another factory and hopefully I will get more wages.”

The 34-year-old photographer said he was moved by the plight of the child workers at the aluminium pot factory.

An aluminium-dusted workforce produces pots - some will earn 5 dollars a week

He said: “The thing I was most shocked to see was that at lunchtime the children only eat dry bread and they don’t wash their hands even though they are completely coloured with aluminium dust and it is harmful for their health.”

A young boy poses with one of the factory's many pots on his head
A boy works at the wheel with no gloves or safety equipment

Unicef and the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics recently conducted a joint study on the status of child labour in the country.

Results showed that there are at least five million children between the ages of 5 and 17 years who are actively involved in child labour - with at least two million of those engaged in hazardous work.

The child workers are categorised as learners or helpers

Many working children do not have access to education and become trapped in low-skilled, low-pay work that further binds them into the cycle of poverty.

Aluminium factory work is very common in Bangladesh where different kinds of pots and jars are made from the material.

There is no exact statistic that determines the ratio of adults and children workers, however studies have estimated that between 40-60% of the workers are children.